April arrived with blooming Spring flowers and swaying clouds. There was a sweet breeze that sang in the morning and heightened at night. Jared stood on the balcony, his arms folded on the railing. He could adore this but he couldn't bring himself to. There wasn't any peace rising up inside of him, there wasn't anything else he could sink into except for the wealth growing in his bank and his position rising above everyone else.
He moved away from the balcony and slipped back into his bedroom, taking his coat from off one of the chairs. He pulled it on and left out to go to the drawing room. He found Farrah sitting there almost demurely, pulling into herself as she aways did. She had barely left the house since their wedding, sulking around the house like a pouty princess. He hated seeing her so often suddenly. Hated the tragic look in her eyes and the sniffling mess he could hear her become behind her closed bedroom door. She was his however, more than she ever was. He had finally gotten her pregnant and when she had discovered the news she had become ill. Hating him for it and he had simply told her that she should be glad for it because if it weren't for his child inside her he would have gotten rid of her long ago.
"You're looking rather lovely this morning. I pray my son is treating you alright?" He sang it but kept on the tone of sarcasm. He had stopped in the doorway, counting each time she let out a sigh and each time a look of pain flashed across her face.
She glanced up at him, the curls around her face accentuating the glow that pregnancy brought. "You don't even know if he's yours."
Jared laughed and shook his head. "Well he had better be. Do you know what sort of things a man is warranted to do to his wife if she delivers a baby that is not his own?"
She didn't answer. She knew everything he meant. Public shunning, hatred from society, endless gossip. The list went on. There was fear in her eyes for a moment, a darkness that told Jared that she wasn't even sure.
"Now I meant to have a word with you."
Again she looked to him. "With me?"
He nodded. "I mean to have a party. The day after tomorrow is Easter after all."
"What will you blaspheme that day with?" She questioned and seemed almost shocked that she had actually let those words leave her mouth.
"No blasphemy, what do you take me for? The anti-Christ? Honestly you give me too much credit." He smirked before folding his arms across his chest, his hand rubbing to the silk embroidery on his lapels. "I mean to go the whole way. An Easter egg hunt would be delightful for children and a fine meal to satisfy all my guests."
She was eyeing him, knowing somehow that this wasn't all that it seemed. "And?"
"And what else?"
He let out a small laugh and shook his head. "You never trust me at all, do you? Perhaps I am now a new man and have been redeemed. Today is Good Friday as you know."
"Please do not feign change. Anyone with clear sight could see the man you still are."
"Yes I suppose so. And anyone with eyes can see the woman you still are. I wouldn't be so judgmental darling, after all we're all sinners."
"Some more than others." She remarked, lowering her eyes from his and looking at the lace of her skirts.
"All sin is the same or have you not read your Bible?"
"Is this all you do? Come by here to humiliate me? To mock me? To revel in the fact that you've put your bastard in me?" She demanded, tears suddenly straining her voice.
"To answer your question, yes this is all I do. It has become my most favorite sport. Seeing you squirm beneath my thumb. It must feel so wickedly delicious to know that a man that had once been so beneath you is suddenly so high above you you'll never be able to reach him?"
"One can only reach so high before they're shot down."
"Is that a threat?"
"Oh that I wish it were." She replied, her eyes glaring and her voice darkening.
"I do love this side of you. It's rather refreshing. So surprising to know women of your class could be so daring. Wish you would show this side in the bedroom rather than the bore you've become." He pushed off the wall and dropped his hands to his sides. "Now if you'll excuse me I have things to do."
"Like what? Ruin someone else's life?"
He smiled at that. "No Farrah, I save my energy for you. Now G'day." He leaned down and placed a kiss to the top of her head which she flinched away from. He made a noise of a laugh to that before he left the room and retrieved his coat from the coat hanger.
The butler came to meet him, his hands shaky in their white gloves. "A telegram, sir. It was sent expressly and stamped important."
Jared turned to look at him, studying that old face with a bit of weariness. He was in the service of someone he loathed and he would never be released of it. Was that a way to live? Did Jared even feel compassion towards it? He supposed he did not.
He took the letter from his hands and muttered a thank you before leaving the house. Situating himself in the back carriage he opened the letter as they readied the horses for leaving. He tried to keep the shock from filling him too much, tried to remain passive about it but the word 'dying' had been repeated far too much for his liking. He had received a similar letter twice before. This was different though, he told himself, this was his aunt and neither his mother or father. Still he ordered for the coachman to take him to his aunt's home, his anxiousness suddenly filling him at the thought at being by another death bed.
They got there swiftly and Jared hurried down the streets. This time he succeeded in ignoring the starving children, the tasteless prostitutes, and the junk ridden streets. He rushed straight to his aunt's door and tore inside. He was met with the drawn face of his uncle. He supposed those were tears in his eyes and he thought to himself that a man couldn't have looked uglier than his uncle did in that moment.
"I do not want you here." He growled out, his voice wavering.
"Well it appears my aunt did. She sent me a letter, asking me to come. Do you have a say in a woman's dying wish?" He had ripped the letter from inside his coat and waved it in front of the old man. His hands were shaking. He didn't want to relive it. This isn't your mother you idiot! This isn't your father!
His uncle turned when the doctor came out of the room, a tired and defeated look on his face.
"Where is her nephew? She wishes to see him promptly." The doctor said, looking at the old man with expectancy.
"I'm here." Jared pushed his way past the two men and entered the small bedroom.
It smelled of approaching death as if the scythe had been raised and was ready to cut. There were wilting bouquets on the table that were more like wildflowers than anything and several candles burning to fill the room with light. His aunt was laying on the bed, her chest rising and falling without ease. Her face was pale, strained. She looked up at Jared when he entered the room and offered him a smile.
"I was hoping you would come." She forced out, holding out her hand to him.
He came closer to the bed, completely unsure what he was doing here. He didn't even care for the hag and the entire situation reminded him too much of what had happened back in America.
"Of course I would. You wrote." He simply said, setting himself down on a chair beside the bed.
She smiled at that, a bright smile that bore every ounce of affection she had towards him. "I just wanted to see you one last time. Make sure you really are the man I've heard you've become. I wanted to know my sister's son was still a good man." She was smiling like an idiot. Her foolish lies to herself were charming.
He nodded and didn't say anything when she took his hand. Hers trembled in his. The sweat clung to her skin and slicked onto his own. He watched the lines on her face grow deeper with exhaustion. He was watching death take her. He felt the chill crawl up his neck. How close it was. He heard the blade swipe through the air and then he saw her chest stop. Just stop as if it had never been moving at all. He let go of her hand and scrambled to get up, knocking over the chair in his sudden panic.
He looked around the room almost frantically. There was no one there. No one at all. No one but himself and his dead aunt and death itself. He felt choked suddenly, stifled by the atmosphere that was closing in around him.
The door flew open and his uncle and the doctor rushed inside. They had heard the chair topple and had came right in. He slipped out of the room and made to leave, dusting himself off and trying to calm down.
"You shouldn't have gone in there." His uncle called out from behind him.
Jared raised his brows and turned around to face him. "Am I to be blamed for this death as well?" He questioned, standing firmly there as if he had not just nearly hyperventilated in the bedroom.
The doctor came out and said a few hushed words to his uncle before leaving the house. He would send someone over expressly to pick up the body.
"Your evil quickened her death. The doctor said she had another week."
Jared had to laugh at that. "Honestly uncle you humor me. Or you give me too much credit."
His uncle went closer to him, his hand shaking as he held his cane. "Mark my words here Jared, you will die before this year is out."
"You are going to make me laugh! You are going to provoke me into locking you away for the rest of your God forsaken life!" Jared shouted at the old man, the harshness of his voice deepening his tone.
His uncle rose his cane and made to hit Jared but he pushed it away and knocked it out of his hands. He put his hands up, wrapping them around his uncle's neck and bringing him down to the ground. His uncle could barely fight and Jared's breath heaved out with anticipation. He watched the life fade from his uncle's eyes, felt his struggle weaken beneath him. When it was over Jared crawled away into the corner of the room and simply stared at his uncles lifeless body. He looked down at his hands, the sudden power that surged through them. He had taken someone's life and how strangely amazing it had felt. The scythe had raised and it had struck twice in one day. How long until it came for him as well?